The Milgram Experiment.
The Milgram studies were experiments which measured the willingness of subjects to obey an authorative figure, even though it goes against their conscience.
These studies began in July 1961. Milgram devised them, to answer this question.
“Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them accomplices?”
http://enwikipedia.org/wiki/milgram_experiment [11th February 2009]
The initial experiment was carried out at Yale University.
An ad was placed in a local newspaper, which asked for volunteers to take part in a psychology experiment, investigating punishment and learning.
Forty men were recruited from a variety of backgrounds these included head teachers, office worker, engineers and labourers in the hope that these would reflect the general population.
The participants were deceived from the very beginning.
They were paid to participate and told that they were free to leave anytime, without forfeit to payment, even if they didn’t finish the study. During the experiment they were told the complete opposite;
“You have no choice, you must go on”.
It was also necessary to deceive the subjects from the vey beginning about the aim of the study. If the participants knew the study was to see their readiness to obey orders, they may have reacted differently, especially when put under pressure.
The deception goes on as the participants were led to believe that, like them, the learner was a volunteer. They were asked to draw a slip of paper from under a hat to see which role they would play, the learner, or the teacher.
It was already determined that the participant who answered the ad in the newspaper would always be the teacher.
The learner, was taken to a room and strapped into a chair, apparently, to prevent movement, an electrode was placed on his arm. The participant was then taken to an adjoining room which contained a fake generator that was only powered by...